Animals on the plane: When animals fly on a private plane

Flying with pets – This is a new trend in business aviation. But operators have to take a lot of things into consideration.

While aviation has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, business aviation is only partially affected. The limited scope of the airlines, but also the avoidance of crowds and the possibility of being able to manage hygiene on board better are the reasons that contributed to this.

In addition to the reasons listed, another reason could have contributed to this: when everything stopped, the wealthy also used private planes to bring pets home. But even regardless of the pandemic, working with passengers who travel with pets appears to be a trend. At least the numerous advertisements and advertisements on the home pages of private aircraft operators attest to this.

high demand

The number of passengers traveling with their pets is steadily increasing. For example, Netjets reports that in 2019, 20,000 animals were flown with their owners, while in 2020 (that is, in the middle of the epidemic), 24,000 animals were already welcomed on board the company’s flights.

A major competitor sees an 86 percent increase in the number of passengers traveling with their four-legged friends over the same period. It follows that this class of passengers is becoming increasingly important, as the industry proactively presents itself as an alternative to airlines. One argument is that the animal is less stressed.

fly next to Mr.

This assertion is certainly unfounded. Whereas in airlines, the animal is actually seen as hand baggage or cargo and left on board in the event of evacuation, for example, business aviation with its marketing gives the impression that pets of wealthy customers are treated as full-fledged passengers.

Most operators have no restrictions on the size, types or breed of animals. On the other hand, not many airlines carry short-nosed dogs like French bulldogs or pugs, which are very popular and widespread. Of course, all animals can fly in the passenger cabin and with most aircraft operators it is not necessary to accommodate them in special transport boxes.

What happens in an emergency situation?

It’s only natural that passengers who dig deep into their pockets for a flight on a private jet also expect superior first-class treatment for their four-legged companion. However, this also presents new challenges with regard to the care and safety of passengers on double- and quadruple-legged aircraft, as similar underlying issues must be addressed here as with only two-legged passengers.

It may be the animal’s specific nutritional requirements or the fact that not every animal is suitable to stay at an air pressure of about 2,500 m for a longer period of time. Similar to two-legged passengers, it is essential to be able to confidently handle a flying pet in the cabin, especially the ability to read their body language; But also the care of veterinary problems, for example in the cardiovascular area or in an emergency (disembarkation or emergency evacuation).

veterinarian training

While flight crews are prepared for different scenarios in different frequent passenger training sessions, this has not yet been trained on a larger scale for four-legged passengers. An exception to this, and perhaps a pioneer in the aircraft industry, is one of the largest operators of business aircraft in Europe, whose crews are trained not only in the handling of pets, but also in first aid from veterinarians.

Given the many advantages of traveling on a private jet with your pet, the industry will continue to deal aggressively with these customers and the current trend will hold. If this is the case, even smaller private jet operators will have to prepare their crews for the attendant challenges in the medium term.

Sebastian Gehrig is a free columnist at aeroTELEGRAPH. He is a veterinarian and pilot (currently working on an A320 with a European airline) and has many years of experience in executive aviation. As a link between the world of veterinary medicine and aviation, private aircraft operators are advised to take adequate care of the pets of the VIPs traveling with them. The opinion of the independent columnists does not have to agree with the opinion of the editors.

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